A Conversation with SuperFoods Rx For Pregnancy author Dr. Steven Pratt
Wild Blueberries recently joined New York Times best-selling author (and
dad of 7) Dr. Steven Pratt, in New York City to help launch his new book
SuperFoods Rx for Pregnancy, The Right Choices for a Healthy, Smart
Super Baby. It’s fast becoming the ultimate nutrition and lifestyle guide
for a healthy baby and mom — starting before conception and continuing through the critical first months of a baby’s life. His book is full of great
examples of how some of his favorite Superfoods like Wild Blueberries
work their magic pre, during and post pregnancy to keep both
Mom and Baby healthy during this critical lifestage.
Following the New York City launch, we had an opportunity to sit down with Dr. Pratt and ask him a few questions about his new book. He gave us some great insights and is offering our Wild About Health readers a special giveaway — 10 individuals will be randomly selected to receive a signed copy of his new book. Simply answer this question at the designated time when we post it to Facebook: How do you enjoy Wild Blueberries each day?
What was your inspiration for Super Foods Rx for Pregnancy?
I speak a lot about longevity having written about the topic in my fourth book. The more I researched, I began to realize how little was written about pregnancy and its impact on longevity for the mother and the unborn child. I found that most people don’t really connect pregnancy and longevity but they should.
During pregnancy, the mother’s nutrition and lifestyle habits are either good or bad and if they’re not so good when she goes through menopause she has a much higher risk for diseases like diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease. If she makes the right nutritional choices pre, during and post pregnancy, her risk of developing these diseases are much lower as she goes through menopause.
And for the newborn, longevity really starts at preconception. Research seems to indicate that by age six months or so after birth, the mother has already established for her newborn either a lifetime of great health or one of illness depending on her nutritional and lifestyle choices.
When it comes to nutrition pre, during and post pregnancy what should Moms and Dads know?
Pre Pregnancy & Fertility: In at least 40% of cases males play a role in fertility “issues.” To help the sperm travel to the egg, the sperm is surrounded by an antioxidant-rich fluid. The more antioxidants in that fluid the better chance of survival and fertilization. Wild Blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant foods you can consume. And, most individuals don’t realize that nutrition and weight control play an important role in fertility. Being overweight is the single biggest problem for both men and women when it comes to fertility. Want-to-be parents who can get their weight under control prior to conception will have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby and potentially improve their chances of conception. Eating a diet rich in Wild Blueberries can help with weight management.
Wild blueberries can play two important roles in weight control: 1) provide fiber which fills us up prior to eating too many calories, and 2) as a prebiotic food (providing food for the health promoting bacteria in the GI tract which helps to control weight by not extracting every last calorie from a meal) which helps promote the growth of bacteria associated with a healthy immune system/healthy weight/ lower levels of body wide inflammation. It’s never too late and it’s never too early to start following a healthier nutrition lifestyle.
Pre Pregnancy and Detoxing: Phytonutrients – found in Wild Blueberries and dark honey – contain beneficial polyphenols that help moms and dads detoxify their bodies pre, during and post pregnancy. I’m not recommending a fad detox diet but a diet that contains polyphenol-rich foods like Wild Blueberries. These foods naturally trigger and rev up The Phase 2 Enzyme Systems in the body, which help eliminate toxins in a healthy way.
During Pregnancy: Fetal development is absolutely astonishing. There may be an hour or 15 minutes when the developing fetus needs crucial nutrients to ensure a positive pregnancy outcome. If the mother is deficient in any of those nutrients at that important moment of development there could be potential adverse effects. We used to think that the baby would always be able to draw what it needs from the mother but that’s not really true. In other words, if the mother is deficient in certain nutrients the baby will be too. Soon-to-be mothers need to eat plenty of healthy foods rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals for their unborn children.
Post Pregnancy: If the mother is eating right, the breast milk is full of probiotic healthy bacteria for the baby. To ensure that this healthy probiotic bacteria survives and thrives in their breast milk, mothers need to eat a diet that contains prebiotic food. And Wild Blueberries are such a good prebiotic food — they stimulate the growth of probiotic bacteria in breast milk.
Why are Wild Blueberries on your Super Foods List for Pregnancy? What makes them so special?
There are several reasons I have Wild Blueberries listed as one of my Superfoods for pregnancy. Wild Blueberries help lower blood pressure. If a mother becomes pregnant and has high blood pressure it can create a multitude of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Secondly, the polyphenols in Wild Blueberries help control blood sugar. Whether an individual is pregnant or not if blood sugar goes up adverse events occur in the body. And in pregnancy if blood sugar rises there is a greater risk of complications. And finally, Wild Blueberries are also a prebiotic food – meaning they stimulate the growth and surviving ability of probiotic healthy bacteria in the GI tract. All through pregnancy, the mother should be eating Superfoods like Wild Blueberries to help get the GI tract bacteria primed, ready and healthy. During a vaginal delivery, the baby is dosed in that healthy bacteria and its immune system is off to a good start.
What are the best ways to get your Wild Blueberries?
My Super Baby Smoothie is one of the best ways to get Wild Blueberries into the diet and it’s a great way to start out the morning or have a quick snack in the late afternoon. And, I prefer to use frozen Wild Blueberries in my smoothies. They really are the perfect superfruit to throw in the blender. Wild Blueberries have a richer flavor than regular blueberries — the ones you find the in the produce section — and Wild Blueberries have twice the antioxidants and more fiber. Wild Blueberries are also incredibly convenient. You don’t have to worry about any spoilage because the freshness is frozen in. And Wild Blueberries are smaller – so per berry there is more skin and that’s where the most nutrients are.
Here’s a video where Dr. Pratt shows us how to make his Super Baby Smoothie.
You’re the dad of 7 children…Tell us a little bit about what being a father means to you.
At the end of the day, raising children is about the most important thing in life. As a parent, my ultimate goal is to provide the world with healthy kids who have a good moral code and can give back to the world and make it a better place to live. You want them to be good citizens of the world. Your biggest successes and biggest heartaches revolve around how your children do so you want to see them successful.
Where can you buy your book?
SuperFoods Rx for Pregnancy, The Right Choices for a Healthy, Smart Super Baby can be purchased at most major bookstores across the country. It can also be purchased on Amazon.
Dr. Steven Pratt, M.D., FACS, ABIHM, is a clinical assistant professor of opthalmology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling SuperFoods Rx, and he has appeared on major national media including Today, The View, and Oprah. His books have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, O, Time, Newsweek, Men’s Health, Shape, Martha Stewart Living, and other publications.
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